Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who by taking on new allies in his previously fragile coalition government is now back on his warhorse making demands of Iran that he knows Iran will never accede to.
After making a new alliance with the Kadima Party after the Kadima leadership changed hands, Netanyahu is now in a position of political strength and that, coupled with recent polls saying that he would probably romp home in an election, has given him renewed confidence to confront Iran as the next round of talks begin later this month. Netanyahu has made it clear to the so-called P5+1 group negotiating with Iran to halt its nuclear program that he will be demanding that Iran halt all enrichment, transfer all its enriched uranium out of Iran and shut down and dismantle its underground facility at Fordo. The next round of talks with Iran is due to begin 23 May 2012 in Baghdad, Iraq.
Shaul Mofaz, the new Kadima Party leader after ousting Tzipi Livni in a recent leadership poll, had previously held back from the idea of launching an attack against Iran. However, it now seems he has changed his mind and now agrees with Netanyahu that an attack against Iran would be the best course for Israel to take if Iran refuses to halt its nuclear program.
Since both Netanyahu and Mofaz know that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program while insisting that they have, they are now demanding that Iran halt its entire nuclear program thus raising the ante for an attack based on the likelihood of Iran refusing to comply with any such demands.
With his power in Israel now consolidated, Netanyahu will now have much greater confidence to demand Obama support Israel attacking Iran. For reasons I’ve explained before at this blog, it would be completely impossible for Israel to truly unilaterally launch a ‘pre-emptive’ attack against Iran without the full connivance of the US.
The new political picture in Israel puts President Obama in a predicament. Renewed confidences in Netanyahu in Israel will definitely reinvigour the neoconservatives and the Israel lobby in the US to put pressure on Obama to support Netanyahu’s desire to attack Iran. For the sake of public appearance, Obama is likely to resist such calls knowing full well that the American people simply do not want the US to launch yet another war. However, behind the scenes, Obama will be telling the Israelis that, if they launch an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities, then the US will follow up with massive what they hope will be a regime changing bombing campaign in order to prevent and deter Iran from any retaliatory attacks against Israel. This will then leave Israel free to pre-emptively attack Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank where Hamas elements would likely join forces with the various Fatah groups to defend against Israeli full occupation and military rule in the West Bank.
What should be clearly stressed is that if Israel attacks Iran while Obama is still President, then one may rest assured that such an attack by Israel has been approved and carried out in full connivance with Obama no matter what Obama says about such an attack being carried out without his prior knowledge.
The bottom line today is: Netanyahu’s new-found political position in Israel, coupled with the up-coming talks in Baghdad and the Presidential elections in the US makes for a real game-changer as far as the Final Confrontation with Iran is concerned.